Denture Become Loose After Years Of Wear
I saw a new patient today, a healthy woman in her middle 50's. She got her first upper denture about three years ago and hasn't had any treatment since. Now, due to the continued shrinkage of her upper ridge, the denture is loose. Her lower teeth are healthy and can be maintained for many years, but they can put excessive pressure on her upper ridge. She was just switching over to my office and I'm glad I saw her at this stage of her dental history. Here's why:
The bone loss that occurs after tooth removal is the greatest in the first few years. Usually denture patients go a couple of years or more in between adjustments. The dentures eventually get loose, maybe get relined, maybe get remade and then one day their ridge has shrunk so much that satisfactory function is limited and speech, facial and esthetics are severely compromised.
Then patients ask: Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this bone loss? Why didn't anyone ever tell me this would happen? They have the right to know! They don't have to learn the hard way!
Today's new patient, three years post-extraction, has already lost half of her ridge height and volume. Her upper ridge was never meant to withstand the pressure generated by lower natural teeth. In five years, she'll almost be a dental cripple. In five years, her upper jaw will have shrunk to the extent that reconstructing it would be a complicated.
Dental implants preserve bone because bone responds to the stimulation it receives from them. Our new patient still has adequate bone for some upper implants and even permanent teeth fixed in her mouth! Her ridge would be preserved and she would do away with the removable denture. The implants are the treatment for the disease of bone loss. Our patient deserves to understand that now is the right time to put some implants in to maintain her bone levels. We can ensure a long term quality of life for her that's better than what she is experiencing now and far better than the future of her mouth without dental implants.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309